Location Intelligence, Spatial Data Analysis | Pitney Bowes

Geofence vs Geofencing

Location-based marketing lets you target consumers with ads when and where they are likely to make a purchase. Accurate, reliable location data makes it possible to create a relevant and compelling message.

Geofence and Geofencing are two terms that some people use interchangeably. They refer, however, to two different assets that are critical to program effectiveness.

Location-based marketing leverages data from digital maps, which are comprised of three primary components:

  • Points: Individual latitude and longitude values that represent the physical location of a real-world feature, called a Point of Interest (POI).
  • Lines: Created by connecting two or more points together to represent linear features like roadways or railways.
  • Polygons: Created by connecting three or more lines to completely enclose an area. Polygons can define large areas like states, cities or zip codes, and smaller areas like neighborhoods, school zones or building footprints.

geofence is a polygon that defines a virtual perimeter surrounding an area of interest. A typical geofence outlines a POI like a park or shopping area. Some geofences can represent an extended area of interest, such as a three-mile radius surrounding a POI or the area enclosing a five-minute drive time to a POI.

In location-based marketing, geofences are combined with other data and software applications to enable geofencing capabilities. Geofencing uses a mobile application to capture a smart phone’s location, enabling the delivery of targeted ads when the device is nearby or within the geofence.

Accurate geofence data are critical to successful location-based marketing campaigns. If the geofence area is too large, consumers outside the area of interest may become annoyed by advertising that is not relevant. If the geofence area is too small, the campaign won’t reach all of the intended recipients.

Pitney Bowes helps you reach your targeted consumer base with a variety of geofences:

  • Neighborhoods, residential areas and school zones
  • Airports, stadiums, college campuses and golf courses,
  • Branded geofences, which are specific to a retail business

These nested, brand-specific geofences outline a business’s retail space, building footprint and the extended shopping area where the building is located, including parking lots, service roads and walkways that provide access to the building. When used in conjunction with isochrones (which measure travel time) you can even target drive time areas surrounding a business in increments between one and 30 minutes.

In this way, you can customize your outreach depending on the context and precise interest level expressed by the customers’ behavior. And that leads to greater response.